In spite of loss, Wood shows improvement

CHICAGO -- Travis Wood didn’t have his best stuff on Wednesday afternoon against the Pittsburgh Pirates, but that’s hardly a departure from his recent performance. What was slightly different, despite the Cubs losing 8-4, were the results for Wood.

In his previous three starts, Wood had delivered a 12.64 ERA in 15 2/3 innings and had been undone by the long ball, giving up nine home runs in that span. On Wednesday, despite giving up another home run, Wood lasted five innings and gave up only two runs. Hardly a spectacular result, but definitely a step in the right direction.

“I went on that roll and had some good games and was able to win some ball games, then I was on the other end of it and had to work through some stuff,” Wood said. “I felt like I took a stride today, even though I didn’t go deep into the ball game and threw a lot of pitches, I still felt like I kept them off-balance and keep our team in the ball game.”

Manager Dale Sveum agreed with Wood’s assessment, pointing out that he failed to get ahead of batters and was missing on his location with certain pitchers.

Unfortunately for Wood and the Cubs, the offense didn’t get going until the ninth and by that point, the bullpen had helped put the game out of reach. The normally reliable Shawn Camp saw his ERA jump from 2.70 to 3.54 during a five-run eighth inning for the Pirates.

“I guess sometimes the law of averages will catch up to you,” manager Dale Sveum said of Camp’s performance. “He’s been good all year, he hasn’t a quick five-spot like that, that’s for sure.”

Jeff Baker appeared to injure his wrist when trying to field Josh Harrison’s single in the eighth inning. After his initial reaction, it seemed as though Baker had done some real damage, but he stayed in the game after the initial pain subsided.

“Nobody really likes to roll up on their wrist,” Baker said. “When I first did it I kind of grabbed it a little bit and it was pretty stiff, but it got better as I went along.”

Baker quickly proved he was all healed, getting a single and a triple in his two plate appearance after his injury.

Garza update: Starter Matt Garza, who has been sidelined with a triceps injury since July 21, is expected to throw a bullpen session over the weekend. Jeff Samardzija will start on Friday, followed by the recently recalled Chris Volstad on Saturday and Justin Germano on Sunday. The Cubs are targeting Tuesday’s game in San Diego for Garza’s return, assuming all goes well with his bullpen work.